WHO WILL PAY MY MEDICAL BILLS AFTER AN ACCIDENT?
It should come as no surprise to New Yorkers that driving through New York City streets can be a risky endeavor. In May of 2022 alone, there were 4,602 people who were injured due to a car accident in New York City. This information, put out by the NYPD, is a sobering reminder that drivers, passengers, cyclists, and pedestrians are getting injured on a daily basis. If this happens to you, you’ll need to know what to do—especially in regards to paying for medical bills.
If you’ve been in an accident and are in the New York or Long Island area including the boroughs of Hempstead, Westbury, Mineola, and New Hyde Park, contact me at the Law Office of Steven R. Smith to discuss your options.
New York is a No-Fault State
Each state has its own laws regarding liability in car accidents, and New York is what’s known as a no-fault state. This rule states that either party’s insurance can pay damages after an accident regardless of who was found to be at fault. In practice, this means that you usually must file a claim with your own insurance carrier to have your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) cover some expenses like medical bills and lost earnings. By law, all New York drivers are required to carry PIP up to $50,000 per person along with liability and uninsured motorist protection. New York’s $50,000 amount of coverage is quite high as most other states only require $20,000 to $30,000 worth of coverage.
There are, however, certain circumstances where you can file a claim with the at-fault driver such as when your medical bills exceed the amount your PIP will pay or if your injuries are severe. In some cases, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the other driver—but you should consult with a personal injury attorney first.
Will My Car Insurance Cover My Medical Bills?
After a car accident that’s left you injured, you likely have several questions running through your head: What should I do when I get a medical bill? Who pays for my medical bills after an accident? Do I use my own insurance to pay medical bills after an accident? All these questions are understandable. It’s best to address them sooner rather than later so your bills don’t pile up.
Because New York is a no-fault state, you can likely get early payment of your medical bills through your PIP coverage or medical payments (MedPay), and in most cases, you can send them directly to your insurance provider to have them paid on a rolling basis. However, there is a cap to what this will cover, and if your injuries are extensive, you may have to use your own health insurance or file a claim with the other driver’s insurance.
Do I Have to Use My Own Health Insurance?
If you’ve used up your PIP and MedPay but still have medical bills, you will likely need to go through your own health insurance. In many cases, personal health insurance can only be used as “secondary” coverage only after you’ve exhausted your “primary” coverage (either your or the other driver’s car insurance). And while almost all insurance plans will pay for injuries sustained in a car accident, you may also be subject to in-network and out-of-network pricing and deductibles. Additionally, insurance companies retain the right to get reimbursed for expenses they pay if you end up receiving compensation from the other driver. It’s also worth noting that some specific treatments may not be covered under your policy.
What If I Don’t Have Health Insurance?
If you don’t have health insurance, you shouldn’t delay getting medical treatment after an accident. Your health and wellbeing is the number one priority. It’s also a good idea to contact a car accident attorney at this point because they may be able to direct you to resources that can help pay for, or at least postpone, payments until you receive damages from the other driver. There are also laws in place in the state that limit what hospitals and doctors can charge to those without insurance. There are also restrictions on how hospitals can go about collecting payments from patients who are under or uninsured, which can ease the burden of mounting bills.
Turn to Knowledgeable Legal Counsel
The days and weeks following a car accident can be extremely stressful for you and your family, especially if you’re recovering from injuries. The last thing you want to worry about is how you’re going to pay for it all. By contacting me at the Law Office of Steven R. Smith, you’ll have a partner in your recovery and someone who will work tirelessly for fair and substantial compensation. If you’re in the New York or Long Island area, give me a call today to set up a consultation.